MANILA – All roads lead to Manila this October, as groups of indigenous peoples, Moro and peasants from all over the country are set to go on a Lakbayan (people’s caravan) in a show of unity to assert the rights of the national minority for self-determination.
The “Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya para sa Sariling Pagpapasya at Makatarungang Kapayapaan” (Journey of the National Minorities for Self-Determination and Just Peace) will take off from the provinces starting Oct. 8 and is set to arrive in Manila on Oct.13, said a statement by the indigenous alliance Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (Katribu).
Led by Katribu and Suara Bangsamoro, the groups will converge with peasant and other people’s organizations for a multi-sectoral rally on the national peasant day in Mendiola on Oct. 21.
“We want to forward our struggle for the Cordillera people’s genuine regional autonomy and end the control and plunder of our resources and the militarization of our communities,” said Abigail Anongos, secretary general of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA).
Progressive groups from Luzon occasionally bring caravans to campaign on various issues in Metro Manila. But the farthest came from down south of the archipelago in 2012 when the Manilakbayan ng Mindanao started its annual trip to the National Capital Region, to campaign against militarization, attacks on Lumád schools and killings.
This year’s Lakbayan highlights the different forms of national oppression experienced by indigenous peoples and Moro peoples, including: plunder and landgrabbing of ancestral lands and territories, destruction of their land and resources, militarization and state repression, discrimination, commercialization of culture, government neglect.